Alternative medicine: Beetroot
Although modern medicine disregards the beetroot, it was considered to have distinct therapeutic effects and was broadly used many years ago.
Family: N.O. Chenopodiaceae
Synonyms: Spinach Beet. Sea Beet. Garden Beet. White Beet. Mangel Wurzel.
Beet is believed to be native of the Mediterranean region of Europe and probably Western Asia. It is extensively cultivated as an article of food and especially for sugar production.
Beta vulgaris is a herbaceous biennial or rarely perennial plant with leafy stems growing to 1-2 m tall. The heart-shaped leaves are 5-20 cm long.
The small, 3-5 mm diameter, green or tinged reddish flowers are produced in dense spikes. The fruit is a cluster of hard nutlets.
The Sugar Beet or White Beet, a selected form of the ordinary red-rooted Garden Beet, is now the chief source of sugar.
The Mangel Wurzel, or Mangold, also a variety of the Beet, is good for cattle, affording an abundance of valuable and nutritious food.
Parts Used: Leaves and root.
Pure sugar consists 10% of the root. It is softer and in a more assimilated form compared with the cane sugar; it does not crystallize either. These have made the beet a valuable food.
Beetroots have as much as a third of its weight in starch and gum. Other constituents are saponiside, phytosterol, betaine, leucine, tyrosine, betacyanin, beta carotene, manganese, potassium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, iodine, iron, copper, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.
Beetroot powder is a very popular coloring agent for use in soaps and cosmetic products. The color is due to betacyanin.
The juice of the red beetroot was traditionally used for its astringent and antiseptic properties. It was believed to have a cleansing effect and was used to clear the liver and splenic obstructions.
Beetroot has been used as a blood building food and to treat anemia since long ago. The beetroot's organic iron will not cause constipation or irritation.
Beetroot is hypnotic, antitussive and antipyretic. It is used to treat pneumonia, laryngitis, rheumatoid arthritis, typhoid and constipation.
Beetroot is good for treating the headache and all brain disorders. It is also recommended to prevent against baldness and hair loss.
Red beetroot juice is applied to treat jaundice; if put into the nostrils, it will alleviate toothache and the noise in the ears.
Beetroot is believed to boost the body's natural defenses in the liver and regenerate immune cells. Its silica is vital for healthy skin, fingernails, ligaments, tendons and bones.
Beetroot is commonly used in burnings. It is believed to be useful in treating weal and blisters. Taking a bath with beet's decoction in water and vinegar relieve itching, wipe out dandruffs, and heal the sores and ulcers.
Beetroots extract is a natural source of vitamins and minerals. It is useful in acidosis due to its alkaline elements. The green leafy part is also of nutritional value containing beta-carotene and other carotenoids.
Beetroot contains soluble fiber which can help reduce high blood cholesterol levels. Its phytochemicals, carotenoids and flavonoids prevents LDL (bad cholesterol) from being oxidized and deposited in the arteries. In general it is considered as cardiotonic.
Beetroot is virtually fat free and low in calories. It is slowly converted into sugars and so can stabilize the blood sugar level. Cooked beetroot is a great source of folate and protects people against high blood pressure, Alzheimer's and dementia.
Containing the powerful antioxidant betanin, this vegetable purifies the blood and has a controversial anti-carcinogenic effect. It may also aid the natural process of elimination and support detoxification processes.
Excess use of beetroot may result in renal and bladder stones. Patients with such disease should avoid eating this plant.
The juice stains urine and stool red; this should not be mistaken with blood.